John Salley Keynotes Detroit-area VegFest April 26

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Vegetarian tastefest & expo promotes meatless, earth-friendly diet.

NBA champion, TV/film personality and devoted vegan John Salley will give the keynote address at this year's VegFest, taking place April 26 at Ferndale High School. The annual vegetarian tastefest and expo formerly known as the Great American Meatout is hosted by VegMichigan, the state's largest vegetarian group, and features food from local restaurants, lectures, cooking and raw food demonstrations, exhibitors, free samples, literature and more, all designed to promote the health, environmental and ethical benefits of a plant-based diet.

Major sponsors include Whole Foods Market, 93.9 FM The River, Natural Awakenings magazine and the Medicine Cabinet Pharmacy.

Salley, who helped lead the Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers to NBA championships, has for the past seven years hosted the Emmy-nominated "Best Damn Sports Show Period" on Fox Sports Net and has appeared in a number of films, including the current "Confessions of a Shopaholic." He is also vegan--meaning he neither eats nor uses any animal products--and passionately believes that this diet choice improved his game and his life. Through ads for PETA, speaking engagements and magazine articles, he works to promote the positive attributes of a healthy, compassionate lifestyle.

Whether you're vegan or simply interested in eating healthier and leaving a smaller carbon footprint, VegFest offers something for everyone. Attendees can enjoy tasty vegan cuisine from local restaurants, national brand samples, cooking and raw-food demonstrations, literature and door prizes, plus several lectures and presentations. In addition to John Salley at 2 p.m., speakers throughout the day include Joel Kahn, MD, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation at Beaumont Hospital; author, food and fitness consultant Kerrie Saunders, MS, LLP, PhD; environmentalist Clark Tibbits, founder of the Tibbits Nature Sanctuary and Land Stewardship Center; Drew Winter, animal-rights activist and PETA's 2007 "Sexiest Vegetarian"; pediatrician Mary Sue Sylwestrzak, MD, FAAP; Jan Kemp of The Cancer Project; VegMichigan president Harry Pianko; and a panel of vegan and vegetarian adults and children who will discuss "going veg for dummies."

VegFest is part of the worldwide Great American Meatout, now in its 25th year. Festivities take place each spring in all 50 states and two dozen countries, imploring people to "go meatless" for a day and explore a healthier, environmentally friendly, plant-based diet. Listings of all Meatout events, along with statistics, trends, veg starter kits, recipes, endorsements and more can be found at Meatout (http://www.meatout.org).

VegFest is presented by VegMichigan, a nine-year-old, membership-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that also offers classes, lectures, dinner club outings and an e-newsletter with more than 4000 subscribers.

VegFest takes place from noon until 5 p.m. at Ferndale High School, 881 Pinecrest in Ferndale, Mich. (south of 9 Mile, west of Woodward). Admission at the door is $10, $5 students, free to children under 6 and VegMichigan members. For details and to purchase discounted tickets and memberships in advance, visit http://www.vegmichigan.org, or call toll-free 877-778-3464 for more information.

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Cyndi Summers
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